Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision - G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter

Republic of Maldives

Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2021/02/01

Policy framework

a) National Strategic Action Plan 2019 – 2023

Strategic Action Plan (SAP) highlights the development targets and priorities of the government from 2019 to 2023. The SAP serves as the main implementation and monitoring tool to track the progress of the delivery of the Government’s policies and development priorities. The document presents 5 sectors and 33 subsectors whereby “Jazeera Dhiriulhun” is the sector relevant to Ministry of Environment which encompasses a subsector as “waste as a resource”. This sector highlights key policies, strategies, actions and targets to be achieved by waste sector. Waste as a resource incorporates 4 policies. Policy 1: Promote waste as a valuable resource for income generation. Policy 2. Improve chemical and hazardous waste management practices to ensure protection of people and the environment. Policy 3: Reduce plastics pollution by phasing out single use plastics. Policy 4: Instill environmental values in the society and promote environmentally friendly lifestyle.

b) Waste management policy- 2015

The aim of the waste management policy is to formulate and implement guidelines and means for solid waste management in order to maintain a healthy environment. Accordingly, the key elements of the policy include:

  • Ensure safe disposal of solid waste and encourage recycling and reduction of waste generated
  • Develop guidelines on waste management and disposal and advocate to enforce such guidelines through inter-sectoral collaboration.
  • Ensure safe disposal of chemical, hazardous and industrial waste.

National Action Plan

A) Draft-National Single Use Plastic Phaseout plan- 2020-2023

In September 2019, at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced to phaseout single use plastic in Maldives by 2023. On this regard, a single use plastic phaseout plan has been drafted with the aim of better waste management and minimize marine plastic pollution. The plan is a national initiative to ban the import, production and consumption of certain single use plastics into the Maldives, and promote the use of sustainable alternatives, in the effort to protect human health and the vulnerable marine environment of the country through policy measures. The key policy measures of the plan are:

  1. Ban the Import, Production and Sale of Specific SUP Products
  2. Tariffs, Taxation and Subsidies
  3. Strengthening National Waste Data and Setting Reduction Targets for Plastic Packaging
  4. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
  5. Sustainable Provision of Alternatives
  6. Education and Awareness

Legal framework

a) Environment Protection and Preservation Act 1993

Under Environmental Protection and Preservation Act Disposal of waste, oil, poisonous substances and other harmful substances within the territory of the Republic of Maldives is prohibited. Waste shall be disposed only in the areas designated for the purpose by the government.

b) Waste Management regulation

The key elements of the regulations include: ensure safe disposal and transfer of solid waste and encourage recycling and reduction in waste generated, develop guidelines on waste management and disposal and advocate enforcing these guidelines through inter-sectoral collaboration and ensure safe disposal of chemical, industrial and hazardous waste.

c) Import Export bill no: 31/79 (7/2020)

The new amendment for the Import Export bill has been ratified recently and it’s effective from 1st August 2020. It states that Single Use Plastics that are being identified by the government of Maldives will be banned from January 2021. Moreover, import duty on identified plastics have also been increased.

Indicators

The following targets of the ‘Strategic Action Plan 2019 – 2023’

  1. By 2023, phase out of importation, production and use of single use plastics in the country is enforced
  2. By 2023, at least 65% of students recognise the importance of reduce, reuse and recycle waste
  3. By 2022, a system exists for consumers to refurbish and donate or sell the end of life products
  4. By 2021, guidelines on the handling, storage, and transport of non-medical waste and chemicals is enforced in inhabited islands
  5. By 2023, a legislative framework on the sound management and safe disposal of chemicals is enforced
  6. By 2023, a National Recycling Strategy is developed and implemented for plastics, metals, glass and other recyclables
  7. By 2020, Develop a national policy framework on pollution prevention

Measures

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Yes
Reduce single use plastic (shopping bag, strew etc.) by regulations or voluntary measures Yes
Restrict microbeads for cosmetics etc. No
Improve waste management recycling system Yes
Clean-up activity at rivers and coasts Yes
Actions on fishing gear Yes
Capturing trap/filter on drainage/river No
Promotion of innovative solutions Yes

Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

  1. Impose Import duty on certain Single Use plastics identified in the SUP phaseout plan
  2. From January 2021, ban the certain Single Use plastics identified in the SUP phaseout plan
  3. Education and awareness campaign to prevent and reduce the usage of single use of plastics and to promote sustainable lifestyles.
  4. Strengthening national waste data and setting reduction targets for plastic packaging
  5. Sustainable provision of alternatives for plastic
  6. Establishing an efficient collection system for other plastics

Environmentally sound waste management and cleanup of marine plastic litter

a) Enforcement of proper waste management system.

  • Upgrading Island waste management system
  • Intermediary waste treatment system
  • Regional waste management system
  • Waste transfer system
  • Behaviour change through information, education, communication and public awareness
  • Modern technology selected through BPEO (Best Practicable Environmental Option) and BATNEEC (Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Costs)
  • Environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially acceptable

b) Collection of accumulated waste in the islands

  1. Nationwide clean-up 2020, in cooperation with the island councils
    Analysis of waste accumulated in the islands was done in order to identify the quantity of the waste accumulated in each island. Accumulated wastes are to be collected and transferred to the nearest Regional Waste Management Centre

c) In 2017, a campaign by Maldivian fishing vessels to intercept and collect ocean plastics from the country’s exclusive economic zone was inaugurated. 

  1. The plastics intercepted by fishermen and collected at designated collection points were handed over to Parley for the Oceans, who Maldives has been closely working with to recycle and reuse plastic wastes

d) local fishing vessels in collaboration with NGOs are undertaking efforts to intercept plastic before it reaches in to the ocean and are handed over to parley for the oceans. 

e) In 2019, a campaign was launched to reduce the consumption of plastic bags and bottles

  1. Reusable water bottles were handed over to students studying in the first grade of all registered schools in the Maldives.
  2. Reusable Bags has been distributed to the island councils who took the initiative to eliminate Single Use Plastic. 

f) Waste Management Cooperation – WAMCO (state owned company)

WAMCO is a State own company responsible for collecting and disposing waste. Segregated plastic wastes that are brought by individuals, clean-ups, or organisations are compacted or baled on site for exporting, to be recycled

g) Parley

Parley Maldives is active in implementing the Avoid. Intercept. Redesign (AIR) strategy. Parley have set up collection points all major schools of Male’ and entered into agreements with fishing vessels to collect PET bottles every day

Promotion of innovative solutions

∴ The following actions will be taken in accordance with “ingle Use plastic phaseout plan” to reduce the use of SUP and encourage a more sustainable environmentally friendly manner. 

  • Promotion of sustainable alternatives to plastic
  • Development of a new Business Model for public water provision
  • Mandatory provision of reusable carrier bags* at all supermarkets
  • Provision of refill stations in all public areas which includes; private schools, hospitals, clinics, mosques, parks, bus stops, ferry terminals and all cafテゥs and restaurants
  • Installation of water filtration systems in all households in Greater Male’s Area
  • Development of EPR scheme with complementary administrative schemes such as DRS
  • Separate collection and transfer infrastructure for plastics
  • BATNEEC (Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Costs)

in RWMF (Regional Waste Management Facility) and 1 recycling facility in Maldives for fitting local scale 

•  In 2018- Smart bin initiative by MWSC

  • Smart Bin is the first ever reverse vending machine made for recycling in the Maldives. This is a joint effort of MWSC and Island Beverages Maldives (IBM). It provides an automated method for collecting, sorting and handling of used plastic bottles for recycling purposes. Smart Bin has the capacity to collect up to 538 bottles per day. The Smart Bin launched by MWSC is a major CSR initiative of MWSC to promote and engage the community in recycling practices.

• Establish 3 Regional Waste Management Facilities in Maldives ( Waste-to Energy)

The main goal of the Ministry of environment is to establish 3 main Regional Waste Management Facilities in Maldives. Regional Waste Management Facility at the South of Maldives (Addu City), the other at Greater Male’ region (K.Thilafushi) and Regional Waste Management facility in R. Vandhoo which is in the operational phase. These projects are funded by three different parties; RWMF in Greater Male’ area funded by ADB (Asian Development Bank), RWMF in Addu City and R.Vandhoo are funded by both ADFD (Abu Dhabi funded for development) and IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency). 

Multi-stakeholder involvement and awareness raising

  • “Saafu Raaje campaign” initiated in 2015
    Aims to promote public education and awareness on proper waste management practices and in this manner, reduce the amount of waste being thrown out on to the streets, parks and other public places and in to the sea. The campaign was run in collaboration with other government ministries, the civil society and NGOs.
  • Awareness campaign on Single Use Plastic phaseout plan
    With the Implementation of Single use plastic phaseout plan, an awareness campaign will be launched which will address to reduce the consumption of single use of plastics, and nudge consumers to shift away from single use plastics and use sustainable alternatives.
  • Community mobilization sessions
    Aims to aware the community about waste management policy, best waste management practices, effects of marine pollution, ways we can reduce and refuse plastic consumption and the importance of 3R. These sessions are targeted to selective audiences at Island Level.
  • SNES (Student National Environmental Symposium)
    Students’ National Environment Symposium (SNES) is a biennial meeting, with the aim of empowering the School Environment Clubs, and build the school students’ capacity and participation in dealing with the environmental issues. The first SNES was held from August 20th to 21st 2016 at Dharubaaruge, Male’, Maldives. A total of 325 students from 41 participated in this symposium. SNES II programs and meetings has started this year. The symposium targets to enhance the students’ critical thinking capacities through the scientific method with the objective of finding solutions to the environmental problems faced by the students and/or the community at large. Also seek to empower students to implement student led practical solutions in their communities and provide the opportunity for other stakeholders to contribute to these students led efforts.

Sharing scientific information and knowledge: R&D and Monitoring

  • Develop and implement a National Recycling Strategy
  • Enforce regulation on Anti Littering through stricter fines, policing and strengthened reporting mechanisms
  • Conduct research to identify technologies for converting waste to wealth that is cost effective and appropriate for the Maldivian context
  • Increase employment and entrepreneurship potential in the waste management sector through support mechanisms for SME start-ups and existing businesses to encourage innovative solutions for waste reduction, reuse, recovery, and management
  • Develop and conduct a nation-wide awareness programme that engages and informs the government institutions, businesses, and the general public on proper waste management practices
  • Conduct comprehensive waste audits across all islands to identify volume of different waste streams and to formulate reduction targets
  • Develop a national database and establish methods for information collection, collation, access and dissemination to ensure its comprehensiveness and public availability
  • Identify ways to expand plastic interception in the Greater Male’ Region
  • Equip waste collectors with required equipment and resources to collect and transport different waste streams for treatment
  • Coordinate with the relevant authorities to regulate design and safety features on marine vessels transporting waste
  • Develop a framework to conduct waste audit at island level
  • Develop a framework for extended producer responsibility or other product stewardship programmes

Promotion of international cooperation

  • Basel convention
    Maldives is a party to the Basel Convention. Hence, Maldives is eligible for funding support to address marine plastic litter and to implement measures for prevention and environmentally sound waste management.

Achievements

Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

(In 2020) Draft- National policy and legal framework to ban the import, production and the usage of Single Use plastic. We are in the final stage of the implementation of the policy.

Environmentally sound waste management and cleanup of marine plastic litter

  • Nationwide clean-up 2020
    25% completed
  • WAMCO- Waste Management Cooperation- state owned company
    In 2017, WAMCO generated a revenue of over one million Rufiyaa by exporting plastics, cardboard, and metals to regional facilities in Asia.
  • Parley Maldives
    In 2016, Parley collected 75,000-80,000 5 litre PET bottles every day. Furthermore, only by intercepting the PET bottles that are going to Thilafushi, they exported 3 million 5-litre PET bottles in December 2015 to an Adidas manufacturing facility in Taiwan; where they are being remade into fashion, or sport wear. As of December 2019, Parley is in partnership with 88 schools, 46 resorts, 41 councils, 35 government organisations, 18 cafes’ in Male’, 7 guesthouses, and 2 safaris. In total, from December 2016 to August 2019, Parley has sent sixty 40ft containers weighing over 1000 tons to the Adidas facility in Taiwan.

Promotion of innovative solutions

Increase employment and entrepreneurship potential in the waste management sector through support mechanisms for SME (small and Medium Enterprises) start-ups and existing businesses to encourage innovative solutions for waste reduction, reuse, recovery, and management

Multi-stakeholder involvement and awareness raising

  1. SNES (Student National Environment Symposium)
    SNES II gave grants to a total of ten schools out of fifty-three schools which submitted proposals for projects related to various environmental themes. The selected schools are to implement these projects with the funding they have received within the time period proposed.
  2. NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations)
    There are various groups involved in the dissemination of awareness and information regarding plastic pollution, and sustainable alternative lifestyles. Moreover, there are several resorts promoting and using plastic free alternatives and they have integrated those products as part of their key business services.

Promotion of international cooperation

  1. Commonwealth clean ocean alliance (CCOA)
    In 2020, Maldives joined commonwealth clean ocean alliance, a working group aiming to take actions on tackling marine plastic pollution.
  2. Grant Projects
    • Maldives Clean Environment Project – World Bank (Zone 2, 4&5)
      90% works done for zone 2
      45% works done for zone 4&5
    • Greater Male’ Waste to Energy Project- funded by Asian Development Bank (Zone 3)
      Project in its initial phase
    • IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency). (Zone 6&7)
      Project in its initial phase

Challenges

  • Enhancement of marine litter monitoring capacity
  • Limited technical capacity for relevant scientific research
  • Limitations in data collection and management
  • Collection of marine litter distribution
  • Lack of awareness on the linkages between health and marine pollution.
  • lack of technology based sustainable mitigation and adaptation options/solutions to eradicate the adverse effects to climate conditions for Maldives from both land and marine transport sector
  • Lack of financing mechanisms (incentives)
  • Managing Transboundary plastic waste

Best practices

National level

  1. BATNEEC (Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Costs) in RWMF (Regional Waste Management Facility) and 1 recycling facility in Maldives for fitting local scale
    • Conduct feasibility study for establishing a recycling facility in Maldives
    • Provision of sorting technologies and material recovery technologies in at least 1 RMWF (Regional Waste Management Facility)
  2. Pass legislation on Producer Responsibility on Packaging whereby the roles and responsibilities of importers, producers, and distributors take full or partial economic and physical responsibility for the environmental product design, separate collection, and end-of life management of single-use plastic products
  3. Implement a mechanism to extract nonbiodegradable waste generated in inhabited islands and ensure safe transportation to Thilafushi annually until the Regional Waste Management and Treatment Facilities are operational

Local level

  1. Develop and implement an SOP for waste segregation at the household level in all administrative islands
  2. Revise the current waste management model employed in the inhabited islands, as per the recommendations of existing technical studies to ensure sustainability
  3. Develop a framework to conduct waste audit at island level
  4. Conduct comprehensive waste audits across all islands to identify volume of different waste streams and to formulate reduction targets
  5. Incentivise plastic free packaging on locally made food and other products

Private sector

  1. Parley Maldives
    Parley Maldives is active in implementing the Avoid. Intercept. Redesign (AIR) strategy. Parley have set up collection points all major schools of Male’ and entered into agreements with fishing vessels to collect PET bottles every day. In 2016, Parley collected 75,000-80,000 5 litre PET bottles every day. Furthermore, only by intercepting the PET bottles that are going to Thilafushi, they exported 3 million 5-litre PET bottles in December 2015 to an Adidas manufacturing facility in Taiwan; where they are being remade into fashion, or sport wear. As of December 2019, Parley is in partnership with 88 schools, 46 resorts, 41 councils, 35 government organisations, 18 cafes’ in Male’, 7 guesthouses, and 2 safaris. In total, from December 2016 to August 2019, Parley has sent sixty 40ft containers weighing over 1000 tons to the Adidas facility in Taiwan.
  2. Waste Management Corporation Limited (WAMCO)– (state owned company)
    WAMCO is a state-owned company responsible for waste collection and disposal at regional facilities. Segregated plastics brought to WAMCO by individuals, clean-ups, or organisations are compacted or baled on site for exporting, to be recycled. In 2017, WAMCO generated a revenue of over one million Rufiyaa by exporting plastics, cardboard, and metals to regional facilities in Asia.
  3. Secure bag
    Secure Bag is a private business engaged in the exportation of reusable, and recyclable materials since 2004. Their main business segment is exporting scrap metals, such as copper, aluminium, brass, and batteries. Plastics are only a small portion of the business, which is done out of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The company can be said to be the largest private buyer and collector of PET bottles in the Maldives. They mainly buy PET bottles from the second hand “Neelan” shop in the Maldives, from Maldives Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC), tourist resorts, and other islands. They export 20-30 tons of PET every three to six months. In 2017, Secure Bag exported 80 tons of plastic waste, parings and scrap. This is an increase from the latest export value provided by Secure Bag in 2014, which was 55 tons.

International cooperation

  1. Commonwealth clean ocean alliance (CCOA)
    In 2020, Maldives joined commonwealth clean ocean alliance, a working group aiming to take actions on tackling marine plastic pollution.

Contact details

Mariyam Samha/ Designation: Environment Analyst/ contact: mariyam.samha@environment.gov

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